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Iconoclastic journalist killed in L.A. crash

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Courtesy Media Bistro

LOS ANGELES — Michael Hastings, an aggressive and iconoclastic journalist whose reporting exposed the vagaries of the war in Iraq and helped bring down the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, died early Tuesday in a car crash in Los Angeles, according to two of his employers. He was 33.

The coroner and other authorities would not confirm the death of the freelance reporter, though police reported that a single-car accident on North Highland Avenue killed the driver about 4:25 a.m. The website BuzzFeed first reported Hastings’ death, which was later announced in an obituary by Rolling Stone. The reporter wrote for both and had opened BuzzFeed’s L.A. bureau last fall.

In reporting stints in Baghdad, Washington and Kabul, Hastings rejected the cozy access reporting favored by some of his colleagues in favor of bare-knuckle truth-telling that sometimes rubbed his peers and subjects the wrong way.

His 2010 Rolling Stone profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal,”The Runaway General,” exposed the general and his staff’s disdain for their superiors, ranging from National Security Advisor James L. Jones to Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama.

For more on this LA Times story, click here.

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